I recently listened to a great teaching called “Healthy Families” by Kris Vallotton. Like many of his teachings, I so much enjoyed this one. I highly recommend taking an hour or so to listen to it. During the talk he shared 4 values of healthy families, but for the purpose of this post, I want to focus on one.
Healthy Marriages have NO SECRETS.
For years I held on to a huge secret in our marriage. It was my addiction to pornography. I’ve touched on the subject on my personal site, but I’ll mention just a bit of my struggle here. My exposure began like it does for many men – as a teenager to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. Over the years the content of what I watched became increasingly worse.
My addiction got so bad that it played a large part in my manic episode I detailed in a previous post. I was viewing porn (and terrible stuff at that) and I still, to this day, have absolutely no recollection of it. That is an incredibly scary thing for me.
After my manic episode I had one more relapse in my pornography addiction that was incredibly hurtful to our marriage. I confessed this relapse to Danielle, and she was devastated.
It took months to heal our marriage, and in all honesty, the healing occurs bit by bit to this day.
Pornography is an incredibly destructive force. It leads to secretive behavior. It keeps the husband from being completely honest and open with his wife. And it ends up leaving the wife feeling hurt, at best, and completely devastated and devalued at worst. It also leads to a huge lack of trust in a relationship once it has been exposed.
Fortunately for me Danielle has shown me untold amounts of grace. Firstly, she decided to stay with me during my mania even though I had told her at the time she was free to go and that God was telling me that (He obviously wasn’t).
Secondly, she stayed with me after my pornography admission bombshell. Which may have been even more difficult (you’d have to ask her). I can only begin to imagine the pain she dealt with and the anger that admission caused.
People have asked me how I got over my addiction to pornography, and I’ve told them I really believe it was a miracle. Nothing short of a miracle. Right before it ended there was a word given to me that everything would have to be torn down before it could be built back up. Our lives were “torn down” due to my manic episode (which this person had no idea about) and by my addiction to pornography. Ever since, our marriage has been built back up, although it hasn’t been easy.
So I don’t really have a good answer when it comes to getting out of the bondage of pornography. I struggled with it for YEARS. But I do know you should tell someone you trust, get help, get counseling if you need it and be open and honest with your wife.
Maybe the last part was the key that broke things once and for all. I had not been completely honest with Danielle. Once I was, and we went through the hurt and ugliness of the process, I believe that’s when I was completely healed from my addiction. But it took hard work, on both our parts, to begin the restoration process for our marriage. Nobody ever said marriage would be easy. Marriage takes a lot of work. Especially when working through such an ugly addiction. It would have been easy for Danielle to give up on me, especially since I had failed her time and time again. But she didn’t. She chose to fight for our marriage.
Pornography and sexual material seem to be absolutely everywhere it seems. You can find something attractive at your local Walmart aisle, the movies (50 Shades anyone?), or just a mouse click away. That is by no means an excuse for men. It is a reminder to us guys that we need to be ever vigilant regarding what we put before our eyes and what we allow our minds to dwell on.
Pornography can have NO PLACE in a marriage. It just can’t. You might be able to convince yourself that it will be okay for a while, but it will blow up in the end, and it won’t be pretty. Hopefully you’ll have someone like a Danielle to help pick up the pieces of the mess you made.
Healthy Marriages have NO SECRETS.